While RadRightFems Pontificate, Nina Educates

The following is a passage excerpted from the Introduction of Nina Hartley's latest book, Nina Hartley's Guide to Total Sex. Although the book as a whole is more of an "how to" guide on manuevering through the maze of roses and thorns and ultimate pain and pleasure that is human sexuality; this particular excerpt is where Nina lays out her basic philosophy of sexual freedom from a definite progressive, sex-positive feminist, and sexual liberationist perspective. I post this as a response to all those who continue to insist that those of us who call ourselves "sex-positive" are simply the negation of those we call "sex-negative".

Sexual Liberation: In and Out of Fashion but Always in Style (pp. 5-9)

If there is one thing we've all found out during the past half-century, it's that sex doesn't exist in a political vacuum.  As a woman and a feminist, I developed my own sexual politics from the ideas of others and my own life experiences.  They're simple in theory but not always easily applied.  They require rigorous honesty and a willingness to learn.  I believe the body's innate capacity to experience sexual pleasure is an inherent good, requiring no validation by external authority, but I also understand its power commands respect.  My core position is that, between consenting adults, nothing short of physical harm is forbidden, no form of sexual activity inherently immoral.  For that to be true, consent has to be real.  Consent is not the absence of "no." It is a statement of shared intent that must be continually renewed.  Every party to an act must fully understand and wilingly choose to participate.  Within these parameters, all choices should be honored.  That's been my message for more than twenty years, and I'm sticking to it.

These beliefs have broad implications from which I don't shy away.  I believe that all womnen must have complete access to the full spectrum of reproductive choice.  Without control over fertility, women cannot be equal partners in sexual self-realization, as nature makes the stakes so much higher for us.  I believe all consenting adults have the right to private pleasure without fear of government intrusion or hostile social scrutiny.  As you would expect, I consider the viewing of erotic materials part of that sacrosanct zone of private pleasure.  I do not believe that all sexual relationships are, or should be, struggles for political power.  We all have a say in how political we allow the personal to be.

Sexual liberation requires that we take full responsibility for our actions and that no outside agency or church, state, or social organization should be allowed to do that for us.   I believe that sexual jealousy is not "natural" but learned and that it can also be unlearned. I believe that we each have within us all the love and joy we need (with plenty left over to share with others), and that only fear and conditioning prevent us from accessing those feelings.  I believe that our bodies and our feelings, if honored and trusted, can lead us to our best lives, despite our diverse backgrounds.  I realize that these ideas have been vigorously challenged from many quarters.  Though I've submitted my own thinking to the test of daily life and the ongoing examination of what Zen calls "the beginner's mind," I remain an unabashed sexual liberationist in the broadest sense.  My agenda is not hidden.

Sex, in its purely physical expression, has no intristic meaning.  We, as adults, must give it meaning each and every time we choose to be intimate with one another.  The beauty of the body is that it has its own wisdom, its own language, and its own timetable.  Physiology has no "right" or "wrong."  Friction on the flesh produces the release of neurotransmitters that, in turn, stimulate regions of the brain.  Our skin is our largest organ.  Not only does it keep our insides in and pathogens out; it also transmits sensations….and some square inches are more sensitive to attention than others.  Caring touch keeps infants healthy, and lack of touch will create a condition called "failure to thrive," a potentially life-threatening syndrome most commonly seen in institutionalized children….though it can occur in any child lacking adequate care.

Only though touch do we learn at the most basic, nonverbal level that we are loved, safe, and important to our caregivers.  How we are touched in infancy and early childhood directly affects the development of our brains, particularly the ability to form healthy attachments in later life.  It's not just essential in childhood; we need it all through life.  In adulthood, one form that need takes is erotic desire.  It's inevitable, eternal, purposeful, and precious.  It's also anarchic, distracting, subversive, and frequently quite selfish.

Every culture has rules and limitations surrounding sexual behavior, though we often fail to take that into account when our own choices are in question.  In our search for personally satisfying erotic lives, we must understand how the culture of our childhood affects us today.  Was it particularly modest? Free and open about nudity? Judgmental of unconventional sexualities? Shame based? Fear based? Did it stress comformity or encourage individuality?

All through life, emotional connection starts with physical contact, through the dominant "romantic" conception of relationships as constructed by our culture insists otherwise.  When we open up our exploration of sex, we find it infinitely more complex and nuanced than we ever imagined.  Many forces are in play when we allow ourselves to be sexual, and we need to be aware of their influences.  While sex itself may be "natural," in humans, all sexual behavior is learned.

In order to be whole, we can and must learn what kind of sexual expression is authentic for us and own it, choose for ourselves what restraints to put on it, and ultimately make peace with it.  I believe that this happens anyway, whether conscious or not….which is why consciousness is so important.  Human beings  have proven miraculously resistant to ferocious external pressures on their sexuality.  Western civilization has inveighed against the sinful excesses of sexuality for centuries and seen no reduction in them whatsoever.  Clearly, like it or not, individual sexual choice will always be in individual hands….and that's exactly where I think it belongs.  I put my faith in the basic good intentions and good sense of human beings when it comes to sex.

It's worth every tear, every struggle, and every heartache to make peace with our sexual selves, even if we never choose to share our bodies.  When we are truly centered in this way, we no longer fear the opinions of others or need to judge what others do.  Our first and most important relationship is that with ourselves, and coming to terms with our bodies is the cornerstone of that relationship.  Grounded in self-acceptance, we can build healthy relationships based on love and respect instead of desperation and deceit.  There is so much more on the line than momentary pleasure.  When total sex is a legitimate end to itself, its most important function is as a strong foundation for emotional intiimacy.  That is its ultimate satisfaction.

When I talk about "total sex," I don't just mean "totally hot sex" or "totally rockin' sex," though these are certainly desirable goals in themselves.  I mean sex that involves us totally, encompassing all the biological and emotional forces at work inside that remarkably sensitive envelope through which we feel the physical world. 

That's the kind of sex I've learned to have….and you can, too.

[Slight varations in syntax by me, but the words are all Nina's, posted with her permission.
Copyright 2006 Avery Press, with addition permission from Nina Hartley/Ira S. Levine]

And they say that all we care about are our erections and "moist pussies"?? Ahhhh…yeah.

 

A Hater Bigot At The Hands Of A Pissed-Off Henchwoman

Oh..but you just HAVE to go over to Renegade Evolution’s blog today, and read where she just broke off Witchy-Woo in the proper way.

Apparantly, W-W, in all her finest arrogant assholery, decided to post a comment in this thread in defense of the manager at the domestic violence shelter who decided that Ren wasn’t good enough to volunteer there due to her chosen profession as a sex worker. An excerpt of one of the jucier bits:

[…] 

2. Many of the resident women and children are seeking safety from the effects of what you do – the effects that it has on their own lives. Sexual violence? Ever heard that that ‘fun’ thing you do has repercussions on the real lives of real women (and children)? Well, yes, I know you have because I’ve told you. 

As the manager of a Women’s Refuge (shelter) there’s no way I’d accept a pornography performer as a volunteer because pornography harms women and anyone who has women’s interests at heart would know that. Ergo: porn performers have a somewhat different agenda. Refuges (shelters) don’t exist to help the volunteer’s feel good – we exist to help stop women and children from being killed and to enable their recovery process.

Perhaps the former director’s boundaries were a tad blurred – whatever, I don”t know – but, for all your suck-up’s, saying “asshole – how awful for you”, maybe you should prioritise the life-safety of abused women and children above the needs of a comfortable and wealthy prostitute who has no idea of the damage she does to other real live women…Totally behind the new shelter manager – that’s how things should be done – if you’re a feminist with women’s interests in mind.
 

Feel free to note the “I’ve told you” bit…as if W-W has, by self-decree of her being a radicalfeminist, given herself the all the powers of presuming to represent all of womanhood in her reading the Scarlet Letter of “slut” and “sexbot” onto Ren…and her dictates that even all the good that she has done can’t erase the permanant taint of her apparant stain of being a porn performer and a sex worker….which, in W-W’s twisted mind, automatically disqualifies Ren from ever blackening the doors of any true “feminist” women’s shelter.

And of course, there’s the usual explicit vent (quite unlike the implicit, thinly-veiled assaults of alisalives, if you will remember) that by virtue of her mere existence and her profession, Ren and any other sex worker who does not completely dance in total unity to the radicalfeminist antiporn hymnal, is responsible for all the evil acts that men impose on women for all eternity.

And…”comfortable and wealthy prostitute”.  Goodness, is Ren hiding her mansion from us??

Anyways…after removing the knife from her back (since W-W had been previously playing the moderate “good cop” role in the side while folks like StormCloud and Heart and delphyne launched the real stinkbombs), Ren went on full “red alert rage” mode and read the full Riot Act at W-W. 

Witchy:

And to think I EVER considered you someone worth making bonds with…Here’s the deal, Witchy. I never told, she fucking asked. I worked my fucking ass off at that shelter, and MY EVIL male driver sent a few abusive male boyfriends, ex’s, pimps and whomevers on their way AWAY from those women. AND FUCK YOU, you think what you do and say doesn’t have repercussions on me, on Kim, on Amber, good women all shot to shit by things you’ve said? Don’t talk fucking woman-hating without looking in the goddamn mirror. Shit, you, someone I actually DARED to believe in as a damn middle ground burned me on feminism, period. I never DID this to feel good about myself, Witchy, you fucking forget that I WAS ABUSED, but by a WOMAN so I guess that was okay? That does not MATTER? I had no help, I grew up with not a whole lot and no one was there to HELP me when I needed it? When my arm was a mess of bloody burns or when MY ribs were broken AND MAYBE I want to help people because NO one was there to help me?

SO NO, WITCHY, FUCK YOU. I have HAD it with this…I grew up with NOTHING, in case you fucking MISSED that, and I want to help people, and more than ANYTHING I am damn burned that you DARE speak ill of the old director, Vi, who, sorry, unless you have LIVED in DC…well, cupcake, you have NO idea of what you speak.

[…]

All your fucking work? Shit, woman, I spent time in Kenya setting up space for raped children and OTHER abused people, I’ve marched on DC, I’ve helped women who do not enjoy the work I do out of the business, and I’ve fucking cleaned blood and grey matter of of floors where I would one day sleep….so don’t you tell me. Don’t you ever tell me ever again. I do what I do because I have to, I want to, and it’s right, everything I do. So no…don’t you tell me.Unless It is to say what a fucking FOOL I was for EVER believing in YOU.
 

You know…if people fascist, sex-hating smug asshats like Witchy-Woo are the future of feminism, then I may have to do as Queer Dewd ended up doing and just say: “Fuck feminists”.  (And not in the sex-positive meaning of that phrase, either.)

 

“Bound, Not Gagged”: Where Sex Workers Defend Themselves

It seems like some people are finally getting tired of being beaten down.

Please go over to the new blog Bound, Not Gagged, which is run by sex workers and their supporters who are simply fed up with being silenced, distorted, and intimidated for standing up for their rights to be heard and accepted for their profession.

The contributing authors list includes such heavy hitters as Jill Brenneman, Scarlot Harlot (nee’ Carol Leigh), Robin Few, Melissa Gira, and Karly Kirchner; and they even got Annalee Newitz as a liveblog contirbutor.

Already, they’ve posted some righteous and thoughtful missives on the DC Madam case and the future of sex work.

And just as already, the usual love letters of support from the radfem caucus has been rolling in, too.

Just go there and give your support.

…And Speaking of Sexy Sex Intellectuals…

Significant salutations and congratulations are in order to “Waking Vixen” Audacia Ray….for pulling off the major trifecta of earning her Masters degree from Columbia University; having big success with her nice little alt-porn production The Bi-Apple, and pulling off a successful opening day debut of her Sex Workers ‘ Vision II exhibition in New York City. All at the same time…while she’s still editing the sex worker e-zine print publication $pread and her upcoming book Naked on the Internet, too.

Well freakin’ done, Dacia….and you still manage to look like this:

The lovely and sexy Audacia Ray hosting her Sex Worker's Visions II exhibition.

I could say something about how she looks even better with her clothes off…but that’s not for this blog. 😉

Way to go, Dacia….good things do happen to those who deserve them.

[Slightly edited to reflect corrections by Dacia in comments….]

The DC Madam Scandal: Linkage To Some Sex-Poz/”Whore’s Eye” Perspectives

I could write a great deal more on the fallout from this :"DC Madam" scandal that’s doing such a cock-block on Capitol Hill….but I know of some very deep sex intellectuals (some of whom also happen to be quite sexy, even) who can do the job better than I ever could.  So, here’s some linkage to articles you should be reading:

Dr. Susan Block:
Strangelove Hookergate II
(the original from Doc Suzy’s "Bloggamy"; the reprint from Counterpunch)

Dr. Carol Queen:
Hip-Hip-Hypocrisy!! With A Paean To Prostitutes (from her own blog)

Melissa Gira (from Sexerati) [with h/t’s to Ren and Jill B]:
Johns Gone Wild: The DC Madam’s Gift To Sexual Health

Elizabeth Wood (Sex In The Public Square):
Will The "Washington Madam" Case Destigmatize Sex Work? 

If you know of any other articles out there from a sex-poz perspective, just holla ’em back at me.

 

Jill. Freakin’. Brenneman. Original. Headbussa.

Not in the literal sense, of course….but she’s been on a freakin’ roll of late with some righteous takes on everything from the DC Madam case to the defense of sex workers from APRF distortions.

But it’s this long overdue pixellized ass-whopping of The Troll Better Known As Der Gregor that puts her over the top and earns her the Fighting 101st PHB (Sex Workers Defense Regiment) stripes.

This is what happens when you push someone a bit too far with bullcrap, parroted boilerplate, and out-and-out lies.

"Beatriz" is a reference to a female Latina who, in an earlier thread, posted an English translation of an original statement released by an Argentinian male antiprostitution feminist group; which Der Gregor attempted to mistranslate and twist to fit his ideological lunacy.  When called out correctly by Beatriz, he suceeded to mock her Latina ancestry (calling her "Beatrice"), even claiming that she was an invention of Jill used to smear "radical feminists" and promote Jill’s alleged "pro-porn" and "pro-prostitution" positions.

Ultimately, Jill reached her limits of tolerance, and belted out this comment in response to Gregor’s nonsense.

Originally found here; scroll down to 10th comment, or read the whole thread for background and context.

Gregor’s excerpts in quotations [For this reprint, also in italics]

“ What in the World are you talking about/ you are a maniac, I am cuban, a man of color an activist for 25 years,”

Gregor

[Jill’s response]
Well that changes everything. What are you kidding? Peron was Argentinean, Pinochet Chilean, both sharing your Latino ancestry. And? They were both murdering fascists who claimed to be doing what they were doing as part of some war against evil. Your ethnicity means nothing because you demonstrate having learned nothing from being in a minority class. You figure because you are Cuban and a man of color that you are entitled to judge, to grossly violate the human rights of others, to make absurd allegations and to hide from any accountability? By the way, I thought you were a male person not a man. It seems now you are a man when it suits you.

You’re an activist in what for 25 years? Radical feminism? Now you prove it. Der Gregor is obviously a pseudonym. Who exactly are you? Who are you connected with? Who in radical feminism knows you? Because I know many of the radical feminist players in the last 11 years. Do you dare come out from hiding behind the screen name? If you have the connections to activism you claim, I will have at least heard of you or someone in the radical feminist circles that I know will know you and be able to validate your activism.

Your actions define you Gregor.

“"Beatriz" or whoever is behind that quick profile, came offf the gate insulting and ridiculing , “

No she didn’t. She wrote a response to the Manifesto and gave authorization for it to be posted. You took it upon yourself to translate that manifesto with artistic license and present it as authentic and got caught. You tried to play off as being a native Spanish speaker when it’s obvious you aren’t. What happened is you got in over your head. You stuck the manifesto into translator software, used a peripheral knowledge of Spanish and tried to call it an authentic translation. All Beatriz did was translate the Manifesto accurately and note your alterations.

You on the other hand wrote a document that misrepresented the Spanish and was virtually incomprehensible in English.

You took it upon yourself to ridicule and insult her. Worse you attempted to lower her to non human status. Here is a piece of information about prostitution. Do you know how the San Diego Police and other police departments refer to violence against prostitutes? No Humans Involved. Which you should know this being the great radical feminist. You should know the authors of No Humans Involved number 1 and number 2. I know them both and have worked with both of them. One closely for an extended time period.

You feel it is feminist to throw baseless accusations out challenging that Beatriz is either non human, male, a predator? You as a Latino try to denigrate her Latina ancestry by anglicizing her name? And then you claim to be feminist, a man of color, an activist………… Actions define you. Anyone can cut and paste.

“thinking she was insulting and ridiculing me but as you and her and the rest of you pro prostitution people here have no moral capital to use,”

Your actions here define your moral capital? I rest my case.

“Anyone sitting back and loking at your arguments sees the clear facts. you are a *proponent* of prostitution and porn. “

Ok, Mouth. Prove this. State your facts. I am a proponent of prostitution and porn how?

If "Beatrice" was not also a propnent of porn and prostitution she would not be esconced there next tou you in your pitch post, would she.”

This name in quotes thing is disgusting. Like somehow you have discovered a conspiracy and are showing you aren’t fooled. You are the fool.

Your bullshit calling her Beatrice. I don’t know anyone named Beatrice. There is no Beatrice. Beatrice is the creation of a pathetic misogynist racist who masquerades as a feminist. You believe that your Cuban ethnicity protects you from being the standard Gringo? It doesn’t. You are the classic loudmouth from the United States that gives the US such a poor reputation worldwide.

“so, what are you trying to say, that this Phantom person who has no picture of themselves and no profile to speak of, and is foursquare on your side is *not* pro porn and pro prostitution? “

There is no phantom person. Thus your point it moot.

BS, and PS…. That dog don’t hunt.”

Great, you are quoting my quotes now. How amazing is that?

Last topic. We’re going to talk about feminism, oppression and reality. Who do you figure you’re dealing with? You want to sit and lecture me from your pulpit about what it is like for women victimized by clients and pimps in the sex industry. You save the rhetoric that you have read in books. Your knowledge is from books. What you know about what it feels like to be harmed by men in the sex industry is what you read and what you pretend to live vicariously through the suffering of others.

Let me clue you in. I know exactly what it is like to be harmed by men in prostitution. Pimps and clients. I know exactly what it feels like. Because I was victimized. It isn’t theoretical, isn’t some mantra that I memorized from various women’s writing. Most of which being women who’s claim to their knowledge is from having interviewed women in prostitution. Not even first hand experience. Who exactly are you as a male to lecture a woman who was in prostitution and was harmed in it on what that harm is? On what it feels like? On what oppression is? Or what she needs to recover from it?

I know exactly what it feels like. And when I needed help to get out of it, there wasn’t any. When I needed medical attention, I got stigmatization from health care providers. When I needed help from the justice system after being victimized by criminal predators, I instead faced all the lack of rights and resources afforded by a society that has no respect for prostitutes, for sex workers.

You believe your war against porn and prostitution mattered? Not a bit. Since you were an activist when this was happening to me, what exactly did your activism do to help me or anyone else? Nothing.

You believe I would have needed you to explain my oppression, explain the violence, explain what the oppression is and who was committing it? Please. What an arrogant presumption on your part to believe you know better than women in the sex industry what that oppression is, what it feels like and what they need to end their oppression. You can save your theoretical, misogynist first world feminist bullshit for someone else. There is a world of difference between theory and reality and reality wins. I needed human rights, real world resources and compassion. Not some theory with vague promises of my liberation as a class. If you had any idea what you were talking about you would already know this and it wouldn’t have to be explained to you. You want to learn about prostitution and about the victimization of women in prostitution then shut your mouth and listen instead. Because your actions demonstrate that you know nothing but empty theoretical rhetoric that you try to force feed to impose your dominance and to fill the holes in your credibility.

Your actions are disgusting. Take your statements, your actions and your “proof” about Beatriz and try to sell them . Because your inept racist misogyny won’t fly well with women in general much less feminists including most radical feminists. When you try to make that sale and they realize that Beatriz is exactly who she states she is, they are going to recognize the salesman sold them nothing but disingenuous feminism attempting to cloak hatred, cultural imperialism and patriarchal misogyny. There is a reason why your best ally in your fight on this blog is xyradicalfeminist who at best is intellectually about 14 years old if not that in actual age.

Jousting is over. I’ve had enough of your allegations, absurd conspiracies and empty rhetoric. If you want to keep going we are going to match reality vs. theory. Real life experiences as a woman in prostitution vs. your male perceptions and assumptions. You want to talk about violence against women in prostitution? Violence by men? We can play that. Let’s match your theory with reality.

While we are on the subject of violence. Understand this. Your actions and words directed at Beatriz, Ren, myself and others, are emotional violence perpetrated by a man of color, male person,………… whatever you call yourself.

I do believe that a standing ovation — or five — is in order here.

While Jill can stand on her own, it’s nice to have backup when dealing with asshats like DG….earlier in the same thread, yours truly and Renegade Evolution gave him the reading he deserved as well (both consolidated in one comment by me due to some issues with MySpace’s commenting system):

[Reprinting Ren’s comment…hopefully with the code stripped for brevity]

Jill, you’ll have to excuse my bile here for a moment…but….

FOR FUCK SAKE

This man [Note: reference to Randall Tobias, the official who was outed as using the "DC Madam’s" services] was the driving force in policy that denied monies to any countries and programs that did not openly, publicly, and legally condemn prostitution. Not the johns, Gregor, the whole business. Money was cut from programs that saw to the health and education of women in the business RIGHT NOW. RIGHT NOW, not in this magical future that is…what? Just going to appear one day? After the revolution? What? Yeah, anyway, cut funding from those things for those women- Who, you know, maybe if they HAD better educations and more opportunities they, you know, might not stay in prostitution? They might find ways out and into other jobs? Something like that?

Now, I realize you think if men would just stop using porn and seeing prostitutes everything would be all better…so great…get on that…though I am not sure if you and some other radical feminist men closing your eyes and wishing hard enough is going to make that happen or not, but in the mean time, there are people in this business, and they matter, and frankly, you are a shitty humanist and feminist if all you can do is sit around and attack and insult some women who, you know, actually give a shit about and try to help women in the sex industry in the here and now…those who cannot sit around and wait for your glorious revolution, or don’t want your glorious revolution, but still matter because they are humans and all.

And finally…WHAT about the MEN? You know, some feminists, caring about WOMEN and all…don’t necessarily think EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING always has to be…you know…about the goddamn men!

Now, why don’t you sit down, shut up, and ponder that for a moment? You want to get the men to stop? Ally with like minded men? Post your manifestos where men with read them, spread the word, so on…but WHY you are constantly harassing and attacking a woman who is trying to HELP women is just beyond me. It certainly isn’t doing ANYTHING to stop men from adding the demand part to the supply and demand part of sex work, is it?
[/Ren]

Oh, but Henchwoman, you so forget….you might as will be pissing into a Cat 5 hurricane eyewall as far as Gregor is concerned. This isn’t even about the hypocrisy of an antiprostitution activist engaging in the very same behavior that he would prosecute and demonize others for doing.

Nah….for Gregor, this is about castrating MEN as a class for the sins of having erections and thinking about women as free and equal sexual beings…which, in the eyes of the microcoded implanted endless loop computer chip program that substitutes for Gregor’s brain, directly leads to rape and abuse and "degradation" and all sorts of damage and destruction.  No, for him, it’s all about the SEX that must be totally purged and the men who must be "retrained" to reject their "base sexual desires" so that "men" like him can feel superior and offer himself to his extremist mentors as worthy.

And it’s that much harder to sell his "eternal victimhood" castration fantasies with all that sexual imagery in the way, and all those women who do happen to — horrors of all horrors — LIKE having sex outside of radfem standards, not to mention women like Jill who dare to defend these women as actual human beings rather than the foolish sluts and sexbots and brainwashed victims of "patriarchy" that need his "protection" from the evil male penis.  Thusly, she must be attacked with special fury as a "sellout", an enabler of rape, and a paid agent of Teh Male Enemy.

Well….too bad if I don’t happen to want to be castrated for crimes I don’t commit, or for having a working penis and the brains to respect a woman’s choices.  And too bad for Ren and Jill that they would rather risk being continuously harrassed by you so that they can stand their ground for actual justice for these women.

Somebody [better] change this broken record….please.

Anthony

His response to that??  To call me "phalleocentric".

My response to him from henceforth?? To simply ignore him as a dickhead and an asshat.  But, given Jill’s blast, I do believe that we’ve probably seen the last of him there for a while. 

 

…And The Fighting 101 PHB Welcomes A New Member…

I am so pleased and honored to give a hearty SmackDog Raised Soupbone Fist of Justice welcome to Greta Christina, who had some nice things to say about my entry on the Duke rape case fiasco, and the blog in general.

And it’s not as if African-American women, and sex workers, and African-American sex workers, don’t get raped by privileged white guys. But now the ones who do are going to have a much harder time of it. There are thousands of times that this happens, and it never makes the papers — but this is the case that people are going to remember.

But… oh, just go read the piece on the SmackDog blog. He says it better than I can. And it’s a really good blog generally, and worth checking out.

Yeah, maybe so, Greta….but I have a ways to go before I can approach your level of talent.

Take a gander at her classic and spirited defense of the girls of Girls Gone Wild (the girls, Clones…NOT the jackass assclown who exploited them for his own profits) and the principle of sexual autonomy in general that she wrote a while back. An excerpt:

[…]

The writing I’ve seen about Girls Gone Wild is largely taking two directions. One is pity/concern for the poor exploited girls who are being taken advantage of when they’re too excited/too young/too drunk to know what they’re doing. The other is pity/contempt for the vulgar idiot girls who are squandering their feminist heritage by pulling their shirts up on camera… and are ruining things for the rest of us.

And I have much the same problem with both. I think there’s more than a whiff of patronization, and elitism even, in both attitudes.

Let me talk about the first one first. In the strict Marxist sense, of course the women in GGW are being exploited. They’re being paid a disproportionately low amount for their labor — they’re getting paid in T-shirts and Mardi Gras beads, so duh — and someone else is getting rich off that labor. But I’ve seen a few of these videos, and it sure looks to me like most of these girls know what they’re doing and very much want to be doing it. They like the attention; they get off on exhibitionism; they enjoy feeling sexy and wild; they like having an excuse to do dirty things they wouldn’t ordinarily do.

Will they regret it later? Maybe. Some of them almost certainly will. But you know, a lot of us have done things in our youths that we now regret and can’t take back. (My entire first relationship leaps to mind.) Making dumb choices that you regret is part of being young. It’s the flip side of risk-taking and adventure.

As to the women being too drunk to consent goes, I’m not seeing it. I’ve seen tipsiness in the GGW videos, high spirits, probably even some impaired judgement — but not blackout drunkenness, not drunkenness that would obliterate consent. I could be wrong, I’m not there on the streets of Spring Break with a Breathalyzer and a lie detector test (those don’t work, anyway)… but it sure looks to me like, hammered though many of them are, most of these girls know what they’re doing and know what they want.

Which brings me to my second point: the "they’re squandering their feminist heritage" argument.

This is the one that really bugs me. It’s as if sexual liberation is only for those of us with the right sex-positive feminist credentials — not for yahoo sorority girls who want to pull their shirts up on camera. Like they don’t deserve to have sexual choices, because they’ll make the wrong ones.

But we all deserve sexual liberation. We all deserve the freedom to make sexual choices — even dumb ones or crass ones. As someone whose name I can’t remember once said, not all censorship battles can be about Ulysses. (Does anyone know the source for that quote, btw? I couldn’t find it.) And the battle for sexual liberation and the right to sexual expression can’t always be about brilliant sex-themed performance art, or beautiful ecstatic lovemaking in loving long-term relationships. Sometimes it’s about college girls at big drunken parties pulling their shirts off for the video cameras. That’s the whole point of feminist sexual liberation — we don’t get to go around scolding other women for their consenting sexual choices. (Not on moral or political grounds, anyway. On aesthetic grounds… that’s another story.)

I’ve seen arguments that the problem with GGW isn’t the girls whipping their tops off for the camera — it’s the people behind the camera, the crassness of the videos and the company and the grotesqueness of the main man behind them. It’s not liberated or empowering if you’re whipping your top off for exploitative assholes, or so goes the argument. But while I’m certainly not going to defend the motives of the GGW empire (especially not now), I still think we should support the sexual agency of the wild girls themselves. Do you think every single porn movie that Annie Sprinkle or Nina Hartley ever made was a delicate work of artistic beauty and profound insight, made by sensitive feminists, with the profits going to rape crisis centers and saving the rainforest? I sure don’t. I’m sure that at least some of their movies were silly and dumb, and that the profits from at least some of them went to pay for the sports cars and coke habits of nitwit Silicone Valley porn producers. That doesn’t negate Nina and Annie’s sexual agency and power.

And I think a lot of the "won’t somebody please think of the children?" hysteria about the women in the GGW videos is just flat-out sexist. The same company that makes the "Girls Gone Wild" videos also makes "Guys Gone Wild" videos as well… and I think it’s extremely interesting that nobody, not one person that I’ve heard or read on this subject, has gotten upset about the poor stupid young college boys with low self-esteem who got drunk and let themselves be manipulated into flashing their asses and dicks on camera, and who are going to feel violated and ashamed the next morning and will regret it for the rest of their lives. It’s apparently just young women who are incapable of making their own sexual decisions and living with the consequences.

So here is my plea. Can we please, please, try not to extend our excoriation of Joe Francis to an excoriation of the women who’ve performed in his videos?

Can we please treat them like adults, and in the absence of evidence to the contrary, give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they do what they do because they want to do it?

Can we please at least try to remember that other people like different sexual things from what we like… and not jump to the conclusion that if someone is doing something sexual that we wouldn’t enjoy, therefore they don’t enjoy it either, and therefore they’re only doing it out of manipulation, desperation, coercion, drunkenness, low self-esteem, cultural brainwashing, etc.?

Because when we treat the Girls Gone Wild with patronizing pity and contempt, when we stop respecting them and their sexual agency, it’s a small step to disrespecting Nina Hartley and Tristan Taormino and Annie Sprinkle and Carol Queen and all the other great exhibitionists of the world. And it’s a small step from there to disrespecting every woman — and every man — who makes unpopular sexual choices.

Hear, freakin’ hear.

Don’t let me stop you from going there and checking Greta out.  She’s well worth the trip.

 

Announcing: The New Lady Chatterley Boudoir Blog!!!

OK…just for those of you who may be more interested in the more erotic thoughts that may get into my brain, I have decided to create a new, more adult blog for that very purpose.

The Lady Chatterley Boudoir Blog is based on the many erotic groups that I have maintained over the years over at Yahoo! and MSN; it will be focused mainly on the subject of sex and sexual desire and how it constructs, destructs, reconstructs, and basically obsesses us — but mostly, it will be a tribute to the basic radical notion that "Sex is pretty damn nice, and pleasure is good for you."

Naturally, because of the subject matter involved — and my own really dirty mind..heheh — this blog will NOT be for the faint of heart, the prudish, or the antiporn feminists or fundamentalists out there.  It will occasionally venture into the explicit, the graphic, and even the kinky side of sexuality; and no holds will be barred in either content or language. (Naturally, since it will be an ADULT-oriented blog, all the usual NSFW disclaimers apply…though I will do my best to keep it from becoming a beacon for the usual sex spammers and spambots (comment moderation will be fully loaded, so don’t even think about it).

All of the usual suspects and freaks are invited to join along and give whatever feedback or comments you wish, as always.

Here’s the addy in case you want to see the initial construction:

http://ajk-redgarterclub.net/Lady_C_Boudoir_Blog/

Remember, it will be ADULTS ONLY and you will have to get approved from me to join in.

 

This Blog Is Now A No-Prude Zone!!

If I could find a way to put this on the sidebar, this would be my new theme photo for the blog….except perhaps with a dog replacing the ferret (Sorry, Paul):

 

Much love to Susie Bright for granting me permission to repost that effin’ brilliant motto…and by all means, do take a visit over at her kick-ass blog and venture in on the spicy debate she’s having right now on the issue of tagging "suggestive" content as "NFSW" (Not Safe For Work).  She sees it as more of the same old sexual censorship; many commenters tend to disagree and defend it under the guise of protecting workers from getting fired for sexual harrassment. Just read and decide for yourself.

 

 

Some Quick Hit Link Bytes For “Phat Sunday” (Before Fat Tuesday)

1) Oh, Nezua, Nezua, you magnificant SOB….how do you throw such potent bombs?? First, you lay out and whack the pretentousness of "WHITEPROGRESSIVES"; and then you dig from the archives a powerful interview with an old-school radical expatriarch on the current state of this country.  As if your Photoshopping game wasn’t prime enough…

2) Witness Chris Clarke of Creek Running North using the pages of Pandagon to thoroughly wax Americablog’s John Halitosis…errrrrrr…Aravosis…for his Custer-like crawfish act against the University of Illinois retiring their mascot due to NCAA and Native American pressure against offensive Indian-mocking mascots. Considering his act in joining the lynch mob against Cynthia McKinney last year, he’s fully earned it.

3) And speaking of the Panda(gon), the old "Bloggergate scandal" is finally beginning to wind down somewhat: Amanda decided to write a nice long piece for Salon.com moaning about the right-wing assault on her and Shakespeare’s Sister lead Melissa Ewen (P.S.: Spartacus Rocks!!) for joining John Edwards’s campaign staff. Not everyone was so convinced, though; both Dennis Perrin of Red State Son and Joe at American Leftist posted interesting rebuttals about how Amanda’s resignation affects the difference between liberals and Leftists amongst the blogosphere and beyond.

4) A special two gunned, middle finger salute to the fine folks who make up the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals, who recently ruled to uphold Alabama’s ban on the sale of sex foys and other self-pleasure devices; quoting the lack of any "right to privacy" inherent in the US Constitution allowing such defiling of God’s law that sex should only be to procreate His babies.  (OK, they didn’t say that last part explicitly, but you do get the drift of their ruling.) Of course, weapons designed to kill and maim are still protected under the commerce clause. (For the moment, though, possessing dildos and vibrators are still legal….but for how long?)

5) Ahhhh, Violet Blue (the Tiny Nibbles sex blogatrix, NOT the porn starlet)….<sigh of lust>….how I love how you represent sex positive women…as in, this smackdown over at your regular San Francisco Chronicle/SFGate.com "Open Source Sex" column whacking your fellow journalists for their antiporn pretensions and biases on the Kink.com buyout of the SF Armory.  (And you openly ogling nekkid sex dolls [Warning: NSFW] doesn’t hurt my blood flow southward, either..if you catch me drift.)

6) Finally…..Hey, Britney: Pardon my French, but WTF has happened to you???  The cooch flashing and fake lesbian partying with Paris Hilton was kinda cute while it lasted….but shaving your head and getting a tat????  What’s that all about….you trying to hook up with Michael in the insane asylum???

OK, so it’s not like Fleshbot’s Wet Spots or Morning Wood columns…but I’m new at this.  Give me time to focus…;-)

ADDENDA: Elizabeth Wood over at Sex in the Public Square has an excellent riff on why recent attempts to "protect children from exposure to sex and/or sexual material" (read that to mean, exploit children to prosecute adults for having sex or viewing sexual material) is a very, very BAD idea.